Wednesday, September 17, 2014

in the public eye

Reading reviews of new Kissinger book (World Order), am reminded several times of the movie Charlie Wilson's War:  the L.A. Times review (quoted here 9/16) says, "...periodic U.S. withdrawal from international engagement created vacuums that opportunistic aggressors sought to exploit."

And adds -- "Inevitably, our country was drawn into more military conflicts created by the geopolitical power imbalance our absence had created...."

At the end of Charlie Wilson's War, some U.S. gov't. folks (members of Congress, CIA, Pentagon) are informally celebrating the Soviets' withdrawal from Afghanistan.  Representative Charlie Wilson (portrayed by Tom Hanks) is happy and relaxed -- "I told you all we had t'do was help them shoot down the helicopters and everything would start goin' our way!" he says to CIA case officer Gust Avrakotos (Philip Seymour Hoffman).


talks to Wilson about how anything you win is not really over, because you can't -- well, you shouldn't -- leave a "power vacuum" because it may get filled by something worse. ...He tells Wilson that since the Soviets left, "the crazies have been rollin' into Kandahar like it's a fuckin' bathtub drain..."


Wilson and Avrakotos have a reciprocal relationship, where they educate each other; one doesn't do all the instructing.  In the "bathtub drain" sequence, the CIA case officer educates Wilson; in an earlier scene, at the Afghan border, Wilson guides Avrakotos to better understanding...

They have with them "Doc Long" (U.S. House member, portrayed by Ned Beatty) -- Long has kind of a blustery, open-hearted, almost naïve personal style...Avrakotos mutters in an aside, to Wilson, "Guy's a little senile."

"Don't be fooled," Wilson advises him.


The movie shows how temporary (and secret) alliances can be formed between nations.  (We do not stop hating each other, but we will team up, to accomplish this one objective. ...)

At a luncheon in a Houston hotel ballroom, Pakistan's President Zia (Om Puri) and Charlie Wilson discuss the plan...

Zia (incredulous and intense) -- You want me to go into business with the Israelis??!

Wilson -- Just for this one purpose.

Zia -- I need to trust, that this arrangement will remain secret.  Pakistan and Israel will have to appear to be enemies, in the public eye.

Wilson -- Y-yeah...I don't think that's a tough sell...

===============  It's like, they cannot make everything as ideal as it would be nice to, but What CAN we agree on, and accomplish, now, at this time?  Realpolitik.


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